The Colorful Future of Barcodes

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In October, Honeywell Scanning and Mobility announced the Xenon 1900 Color Area-Imaging Scanner, making Honeywell the first AIDC manufacturer to offer a CCD color sensor optimized for 2D barcode scanning.

What exactly does the Xenon Color do?  In addition to reading traditional linear and 2D barcodes as aggressively as other Xenon scanners, the Xenon Color is also equipped to read color barcodes, scan signatures and forms in color and take color digital pictures.  In other words, it’s a little bit more like a camera than it used to be.

On the down side, despite these new features, the color barcodes still need to have a reasonable amount of contrast, and the color images it takes will not be as high resolution as multi-megapixel cameras.  While the new sensor is technically capable of reading multi-color symbologies, it does not add new decoding algorithms to enable it to do so at this time.

red barcode1

On the plus side, it sacrifices none of its impressive Adaptus 6.0 performance in traditional black on white barcode reading, and the Honeywell ColorFusion Technology will be supported by a new set of imaging tools in its EZConfig-Scanning utility.

The Xenon Color hasn’t hit the street yet, but I don’t expect brisk sales early on.  It will take some time to find its niche. What I find interesting about this product is that it’s another step towards the convergence of consumer and commercial demands.  Barcode scanners are taking better pictures and cameras are doing a better job of reading barcodes.  I can imagine a not-too-distant future where demand exists for a CCD sensor that is optimized for taking pictures and reading barcodes.  Honeywell seems to be moving in that direction.

Thoughts? Comments? As always, you can post, email me or contact L-Tron regarding any of your data collection projects.